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“Everybody’s an UMPIRE” Runner hit by batted ball NOT called OUT?


Dear Umpire Bill,

In a Cal Ripken League game a runner was hit by a ball that missed the glove of the diving shortstop, but he was not called OUT; shouldn’t the umpire have called the runner out?

A:  No, the umpire made the correct ruling.

Once the batted ball passes an infielder [3b,SS,2b,1b] and strikes a runner, the play proceeds and the runner is not called out.

If the runner runs in front of and infielder and is hit by the batted ball, he should be called OUT for interfering with the infielder’s right to try to make a play on the ball.

Once interference is called, it is a dead ball, the runner is out, and other runners return to the last base touched at the time of the interference.

NOTES:  Rule 7.09 (m) does not require the fielder to touch, or deflect, the ball, or even attempt to make a play for the ball; as long as the ball passes an infielder, the runner should not be called out.

In this situation, the term “infielder” does not apply to the pitcher, only the 3b,SS,2b, and 1b positions.

EX:  Suppose a second infielder could make a play on the ball.  A man on second with one out and the manager calls for a Hit and Run, where the runner on second starts for third base as the pitch is delivered.  The batter chops the ball slowly at the 3b, who misses it.  The SS still has a chance to make a play on the ball, but the runner, in front of him, is hit by the ball.

Rule 7.09 (m) says that the runner should be called out, unless “no other fielder had the chance to make a play on the ball.”

So, in this situation, although the ball passed one infielder [the 3b], the SS also had a chance to make a play, until the ball hit the runner on his way to Third base, so the correct ruling would be to call the runner OUT.


"Got a question about a rule? Send it to Umpire Bill @ thethrillofthegrass@yahoo.com"